McDonald County Sheriff’s Office Looking to Break 20-Year-Old Case

Local News

The following is a release from the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office:

MCCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — Located in the southwestern most county in Missouri, Oscar Talley Road is a two-mile dirt drive through the rural farmlands of McDonald County. On December 2, 1990, a couple walking the road discovered the decomposed remains of a young woman not far from the road. She had been hog-tied and was dumped behind a rural farmhouse.

Nicknamed “Grace Doe” by Detective Lori Howard in the 2000’s, she believed it was
only by the Grace of God that the young woman’s identity would be found. Her autopsy
revealed that she had been raped and strangled approximately two months prior to her
discovery. Grace Doe was found restrained with six different types of bindings: nylon
and lead ropes, coaxial and telephone cables, paracord, and clothesline. Investigations
determined that the paracord was military grade MIL-C-5040H type II – a rope that was
exclusively sold to the military in the 1990’s – but without more information, her case
went cold.

Grace Doe is described as of White or Native American descent, 21-31 years old,
standing 5’1’’- 5’4’’ tall and weighing around 120 pounds. She had shoulder length, dark
auburn hair. She was wearing a denim jacket with a white t-shirt, “Lee” brand blue jeans,
and white high-top tennis shoes.

While investigators initially thought that Grace Doe and her abductor were from the area,
they now believe that this is not the case. Grace had extensive dental work that was not
normal for the rural county of McDonald in the 1990’s, leading them to believe she was
from a bigger city in the four-state area. As Oscar Talley Road is located less than a mile
from current Interstate 49 (71 Highway at the time), authorities contend that Grace Doe
was abducted elsewhere and dumped on the rural dirt road. She is McDonald County’s
only unidentified body.

The McDonald County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Othram to use advanced DNA
testing and forensic genealogy to establish an identification of, or to find the closest
living relatives to the decedent. Anyone with information that could aid the investigation
is encouraged to contact the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office at (417) 223-4319. A
fund has been established to cover the costs of testing for this case. This case is logged in
NamUs as UP5321.

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